Remember when you were a child and something made you happy? You couldn’t contain yourself. You jumped for joy. As we grow older we learn how to control these impulses. And as we get even older, we may not be physically able to “jump for joy”.
I’m sure, in most instances, it is good that we learn to curb this urge in a physical sense; but sometimes we learn to curb the emotion that causes us to want to jump. Then we are unable to experience the “joy of the Lord” in the fullest manner of wanting to “jump for joy”.
I have a friend at church who has the “joy of the Lord” as much as I do. I don’t know how it got started; but I think it was in response to a song. We took each other’s hands and jumped in a circle. Church was over, and just a few people remained to witness our spontaneous jumping spree. Some of them may have thought we “lost it”; but all of them couldn’t help but smile. It became something that we do every now and then. Sometimes others join us, or just smile or laugh. Is it silly? Yes. Is it good for us. Yes. Is it an expression of the joy we have in our salvation? Yes.
Why do we have this joy? Is it because we are free from problems? To the contrary; we both have had our share of problems and heartaches. We know each other well enough that we know some of what the other has been through. And yet, we have joy. A joy that makes us want to jump! Where does it come from?
It is the “joy of the Lord”. It is joy unspeakable and full of glory! It is joy in our salvation. It is being thankful for all our blessings and trusting the Lord with all our problems. Our Lord has told us to cast all our cares upon Him for He cares for us. (He will take care of us)
Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you. 1 Peter 5:7
One day as my friend and I were jumping, another woman from our church wished to join us. This woman had just survived a long hard battle with cancer and was just beginning to regain her strength but she had the joy of the Lord and wanted to jump with us. She was mostly just bending her knees and popping back up; but she was having fun (until she lost her balance).
It made a huge impact on me, that after everything she had been through (and was still going through), she still wanted to jump for the joy of the Lord! What a contrast to the stodgy grumpy faced Christians who inhabit the back pews of some churches, so they can rush out as soon as church is over. What a testimony to those who still possess their physical health; but have lost their joy! Our sister has since gone to be with Jesus; but her spirit lives on.
Our Lord in His infinite wisdom, knew that we would be overwhelmed with cares, worries, temptations and heartaches in this world. He knew that it would be too much for us to bear. That’s why He tells us that we don’t need to bear our own burdens; we can cast (or throw) them on Him.
Did you ever play the game “Hot Potato”? It may be played differently in some groups; but in my experience, this was the way it was played.
The group sits or stands in a circle. An object is chosen, such as a bean bag, a stuffed animal or a ball that is soft. Then the group is to treat that object as though it is a hot potato. Throwing it immediately to the next person in the circle as though it was hot and burning their hands. A designated person yells “Hot Potato”. The person holding the ball at that point is considered “out” and must leave the circle, and the game resumes.
It can also be played with music playing, similar to musical chairs. When the music stops, the person holding the hot potato is “out” and must leave the circle. If I remember correctly, a stuffed potato was also marketed for the purpose of playing this game.
The Lord knows that the burdens we carry will burn into our soul if we hold on to them. He asks us to cast them on Him as though they were a hot potato. The longer we hold on to our worries, our fears, our anger, our unforgiveness, and our heartaches; the more chance they have of forming permanent scars on our hearts and lives.
How many people continue to carry excess baggage around all their lives? Our Lord wants to carry that baggage for us. He says that His yoke is easy; and His burden is light. He didn’t create us to be beasts of burden, trudging through life bearing a heavy load of sin.
“For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:30
It sounds so simple.
Just cast (or throw) all your burdens to the Lord. Don’t hold on to them. Don’t clench them tight to our chest. Just open our hands and throw them to the Lord. Put all our cares in His capable hands. Believe that He will take care of the problem, heal our heart ache, deliver us from the temptation, teach us to forgive, and enable us to live within His will.
Why is it sometimes hard?
I am reminded of when my children were little. My son was mechanically minded and loved to take things apart to see how they worked. Sometimes that was okay. He took it apart, and put it back together. Sometimes though, he would succeed in the taking apart process; but the putting back together didn’t work out as well. Then he would bring the toy to me to be “fixed” “Fix it Mommy”. If it was a simple fix; I would take the toy and snap it back together and he would go happily on with his day.
But if it was a more time consuming fix, he would grow impatient and snatch it back; only to return later with the plea, “Fix it Mommy”. It was frustrating, when I would have it almost together, only to have it snatched from me before it could be completed. When he returned later, I would have to start all over again.
Sometimes we grow impatient with God. We think He is taking too long. We have “cast” our burden on Him; but now what? We want that quick fix, so that we can go happily on with our life. We begin to doubt that God is able to handle it alone. Maybe He needs a little help. How many times have we snatched back our problem; when (unknown to us) God was close to a solution? How many times has our action of snatching it back; caused grief and inaction on God’s part?
We are not only to cast our burden;
but also, leave it there.
I am reminded of an old hymn called “Leave it There”. The verses go through problems and difficulties that we may experience during our lives, and end with…”Take your burden to the Lord and leave it there”. The chorus then chimes in with, “Leave it there, leave it there. Take your burden to the Lord and leave it there. If you trust and never doubt; He will surely bring you out. Take your burden to the Lord, and leave it there”.
The key to leaving our burdens in God’s hands is contained in the last two sentences of that chorus. “If you trust and never doubt; He will surely bring you out. Take your burden to the Lord, and leave it there”.
The taking it there, or casting our burden on Him is the easy part. It is the trusting and never doubting, that seems to make many of us stumble. Why is it so hard for us to trust? Why do we doubt that the one who created us, and knew us even before we were born, is capable of handling anything that life throws in our path? What makes us think that we, the created being, can handle things better than the Creator himself? Perhaps it is the temptation put before us by the lion that roams this earth seeking whom He may devour. He loves to devour our trust, and chew on our devotion to God; trying to replace it with discouragement and disillusionment.
Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: 1 Peter 5:8
Why do we snatch our problems back
if they aren’t taken care of immediately?
One reason could be impatience. We are so used to instant gratification. It is an instant world. We don’t have a need to cultivate patience; because so much of the time, everything we need is at our fingertips. Technology has contributed to our quest for instant gratification. We can find out almost anything by typing our quest in a search engine and hitting “enter”.
But God holds patience or “longsuffering” in high regard. As evidenced by these verses:
2 Peter 1:5-7
5. And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge;
6. And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness;
7. And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity.
Romans 15:5 – Now the God of patience and consolation grant you to be likeminded one toward another according to Christ Jesus:
3. Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience.
4. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.
Colossians 1:11 – Strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power, unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness;
Do you have the joy of the Lord? Are you thankful for your blessings? Have you given all your burdens into His care? Do you “Leave it There”, like the song says? Are you cultivating trust and patience? Do you look at your trials as a means of working patience in your life? Are you willing to “wait” for the Lord to work in your life; or do you continue to snatch it back and try handling it by yourself?
These are not questions I want an answer to. These are some questions for you to ask yourself and God. I ask myself these and other questions daily. Sometimes I am glad to answer them or hear God’s answer to my queries. Other times, I have fallen short of His righteousness. Sometimes my answer or God’s answer to my questions grieves me. Then I realize that I have taken something back and I am trying to handle it myself. I have not trusted fully; or I have not had the patience neccessary to wait for His timing. So I must go back to where I got off track; ask for forgiveness and hand the part of my life back to God that I have snatched from His hands.
When that happens, I am so thankful to know that my God is a God of mercy; and that He has the patience and longsuffering that I sometimes lack. And most of all, I am thankful that He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
1 John 1:9 -If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
When we are cleansed from all unrighteousness, we are free to enjoy the joy of the Lord. We can jump (either inwardly or outwardly) for the joy of the Lord! We can celebrate the joy of our salvation with a jumping in our spirit; if we can’t physically jump anymore. If we open our hearts and receive; He wants to bestow us this blessing of a joyful buoyant spirit. He desires to give us joy unspeakable. Joy that is not governed by our circumstances. A joy so abundant that we want to jump with glee.
You are never too old
this kind of joy!
For more on this subject, please see these posts:
I would like to hear your thoughts on this subject; so please feel free to leave a comment.
I hope you stop in again sometime. I love company, and my door is always open.
At your service,